A former health care executive, Duncan has opposed GOP-backed efforts to eliminate no-excuse absentee voting. He refused to preside over the vote last week on a Senate proposal to severely limit who can vote by mail that critics say is one of the nation’s most far-reaching elections restrictions.
In the Meet the Press interview, Duncan said Republicans should face a reckoning after a Jan. 6 insurrection that was a “pivot point for this country and for this party.” And he said he was “disgusted” with Trump’s repeated attempts to pressure Raffensperger and other state officials to reverse his election defeat.
“Republicans don’t need election reform to win, we need leadership. I think there’s millions of Republicans waking up around the country that are realizing that Donald Trump’s divisive tone and strategy is unwinnable in forward-looking elections,” he said.
“We need real leadership, we need new focus, a GOP 2.0 that includes moderates in the middle, to get us to the next election cycle.”
Duncan’s stance sharpens a split between Georgia Republicans who hope to put Trump in the rearview mirror and others who see him as the unquestioned leader of the party despite his defeat to Joe Biden.
An Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll in January showed a broad majority of Republicans still give Trump rave reviews. And in the Georgia Senate, where Duncan serves as the top officer, many GOP legislators endorsed legislation and legal action seeking to invalidate the state’s vote.
Echoing his warnings ahead of the January Senate runoffs, when Republicans were swept by Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, Duncan said his party is still too focused on placating Trump.
“We’re not always going to agree on everything. But I think we can continue to put a great foot forward,” he said, citing Georgia’s film industry and low unemployment rates.
“These are things Republicans should be talking about, not any sort of knee-jerk reaction to an election that, quite honestly, didn’t work out our way.”